Friday 23 February 2018

Tony Kelly and Podge Collins lead the charge as Clare put Limerick to the sword

Clare 0-19 Limerick 0-15

Clare got their All-Ireland bid back on track in convincing fashion after overcoming the stubborn resistance of neighbours Limerick in front of 15,540 spectators at Semple Stadium tonight.

Aron Shanagher put the 2013 All-Ireland champions on the scoreboard after just 17 seconds but they would have to wait another 12 minutes to get their next as Limerick settled into their stride.

Shane Dowling (two frees), Kevin Downes and Darragh Donovan sent them 0-4 to 0-1 ahead before John Conlon and Dowling traded points but the Banner assumed total control thereafter, however, and got to grips with Limerick’s ‘grip it and whip it’ long ball style.

The Treaty were held scoreless for the remainder of the half as Podge Collins led the charge for Davy Fitzgerald’s side, firing three first-half points while Tony Kelly was unerring from placed balls as they hit nine points without reply.

With Cian Dillon, Brendan Bugler and David McInerney, who surged forward to hit a fine point, tightening the screw and Shane O’Donnell foraging hard in attack and hitting two points, they led by six at the break, 0-11 to 0-5.

TJ Ryan’s side started the new half with a purpose as sub Gearóid Hegarty and a Dowling free left four in it but Kelly and O’Donnell stopped their mini-revival.

The sides traded scores throughout and Limerick threatened to make a real game of it going into the last ten minutes when cutting the gap to three, thanks mainly to the best efforts of Diarmaid Byrnes, who shot three second-half points.

But they could never get closer than three points and when Shanagher earned a penalty, which Kelly duly tapped over, it stretched the gap to four. James Ryan's injury-time point made Clare sweat it out but Kelly was on the mark from play again to seal the win and their place in the last six.

Having only previously beaten Offaly and Laois in the championship since lifting Liam MacCarthy, Clare will be hopeful that they can negotiate their way back to Croke Park for the first time in three years with a quarter-final win.


SCORERS – Clare – T Kelly 0-9 (5f, 0-1 ’65, 0-1 pen), P Collins and S O’Donnell 0-3 each, A Shanagher, D McInerney, J Conlon and J Browne 0-1 each. Limerick – S Dowling 0-6 (5f, 0-1 ’65), D Byrnes 0-3, J Ryan 0-2, P Browne, K Downes, G Hegarty and D O’Donovan 0-1 each.

CLARE: A Fahy, P O’Connor, C Dillon, J Browne; O O’Brien, D McInnerney, B Bugler, D Reidy, C Galvin, C Cleary, P Collins, J Conlon; S O’Donnell, T Kelly, A Shanagher. Subs: A Cunningham for J Conlon (47), D Fitzgerald for B Bugler (65).

LIMERICK: N Quaid, T Condon, R McCarthy, R English; D Byrnes, G O’Mahony, P Browne, D O’Donovan, D Hannon, J Ryan, C Lynch; K Downes, S Dowling, G Mulcahy. Subs: G Hegarty for D Hannon and T Morrissey for D O’Donovan (both half time), S Hickey for P O’Brien (42), B Nash for G Mulcahy (56), A Dempsey for R English (60).

REF – J Owens (Wexford)

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